Shady areas can be a welcome respite during the hottest part of the day but they also bring a gardening challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of pretty plants to brighten up that shade spot.
Shade plants can range from annuals to perennials, bulbs and grasses. They can also be used to create interesting art and structure in your garden.
Caladium, which is also known as elephant ear, is a popular plant for gardens and landscapes that receive full or part shade. It is a tropical native that grows naturally in shady rainforests.
Its hardiness and good looks make it a reliable, long-lasting foliage plant that thrives in shady climates where other plants fail.
Fancy leaf caladiums are easy to grow and require little maintenance. During the growing season, apply fertilizer only as needed. Using a quarter of what you normally feed flowering annuals should suffice.
Astilbes thrive in dappled or part shade and in soils that remain moist, but not soggy. They are also a good choice for bog gardens and waterside plantings.
A staple in shady borders, astilbe is easy to grow and highly prized for its long-lasting blooms. Flower colors range from white through pink to deep red and soft lavender.
Astilbes are naturally paired with hosta, iris, heuchera, ferns and other shade-loving plants. Moss and rhododendron are excellent companions as well.
Violas are small, clump-forming perennials that like cool weather and will put on a good show in spring and fall. These smaller cousins of pansies are useful in planting beds, rock gardens, as ground covers and as additions to a mixed border.
They are easy to grow from seed and self-seed if the conditions are right. Warm climate gardeners should start their seeds indoors in midsummer and transplant in fall.
Violas are a favorite of plant lovers everywhere and are a great way to brighten up a shady spot. Besides their colorful flowers, they’re also a lovely way to add color to containers.
Toad lilies, known as Tricyrtis, are native to the edge of woodlands and creeks, where they love part-to-full shade and consistent moisture. These easy-to-grow perennials require little maintenance and are not often infested by pests.
The plants are also a good choice for naturalized gardens and rock gardens. They grow easily from stem cuttings taken in early summer.
To propagate the plant, take 4-inch stems in early summer and dip the lower end of each cutting in rooting hormone. Place them in moistened rooting medium and strike them up to the leaf axis. They will grow into a new Toad lily plant within several weeks.
Lobelia is a tender perennial that thrives in most areas of the country, but it needs a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day. The plant is a good choice for shady areas, since it will bloom in cool spring and fall weather.
Annual lobelias are best grown from seed sown in early spring, after danger of frost has passed. They can be direct sown outdoors after the average last frost date in your area, or started indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the frost in a warm spot.
Hydrangeas are some of the most beautiful flowering shrubs you can grow. They come in many different colors, sizes and growth patterns and are easy to care for.
The Hydrangea family includes many varieties that do well in partial shade. They are all excellent choices for areas with a mix of light and shade conditions.
One of the most popular hydrangeas that performs exceptionally well in shade is Hydrangea paniculata, also known as oakleaf hydrangea. Its large white flowers are long-blooming, offering privacy in the summer.